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do kids vary in the way / style they pick up reading in the early stages?

98 replies

imaginaryfriend · 21/03/2008 22:21

Not a great thread title.

I'm just curious about this. Dd's in Reception, not a child genius by any standards but I'm pleased with how she's getting on with her reading and writing.

So far I've mostly stuck with reading the books she brings home from school but I've had a huge batch of ORT books given to me buy a mum friend whose ds is a year ahead of dd at school. With the 'ordinary' ORT books she can pretty easily read a stage 5 story but with the Songbirds phonics books although there are less words per page she really struggles through a stage 4 book but isn't too bad with a stage 3 book.

Which raises a question about teaching by phonics or sight words ... I think.

Any experts around to enlighten me?

OP posts:
oops · 21/03/2008 22:28

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Bink · 21/03/2008 22:31

I am quite sure they vary - though how much & how relevant the variation is I'm not sure.

Both of mine learnt via visual memory - so they stored away the shape of words & learned purely by recognition. This is like me - I have a screen at the back of my mind where I can see any word written up (so spelling is, well, innate - I just have to read it off) & my dd says she does to. (I believe her, because my pa says he has the same.)

Bink · 21/03/2008 22:32

I wrote "to" instead of "too", after saying I could spell. Well gosh. It was because I was going to have said something else & deleted it, really


ItsMyBirthday · 21/03/2008 22:37

In answer to your thread title DEFINATELY YES.

I have twins (am SMS BTW) and they have very different styles of learning.

DTD1 learns through process. So she learnt how to break words down and sound out at the very outset - her progress was quite quick to start but she has slowed now (she is dsame with maths she has learnt the principles amnd learns through her mistakes and challenges).

DTD2 learns by rote. Her reading was very much by sight initially. She really strggled to sound out so struggled where the vocab wasn't stricly controlled (could this be similar to your DD?). Then she learned the process - to break it down and sound out. Hence she was slower to start but is romping away now - way ahead of DTD1). Again she is similar in maths. knows her times tables & number bonds by rote - has been slower to work out why 2*10=20 etc.

Also bare in mind that they have recently changed the structure of the levels on the ORT - so what was level 4 may now be 5 (not sure which way they went). So if your friend has given you old grade 3&4 that may equate to new grade 4&5 IYSWIM and may impact on your interpretation./

edam · 21/03/2008 22:39

Well, people vary in every other field of learning, so why not in reading? Ds is in reception and is very excited by reading. He'll decode spoken words into phonics to work out how they are spelt, which is mildly entertaining. 'M -eh-dee-s-eh-d, Mummy'. (He has a cold atm, I don't give him Medised regularly, honest!)

glinda · 21/03/2008 22:40

Hello imaginary friend. Yes children have different learning style - auditory, visual and kinesthetic (and of course mixtures of all 3).
Your dd's school may also emphsise one method of learning to read and this will impact upon your dd's reading skills. They will undoubtedly learn phonics, but, if they use Ginn there will be an emhasis on a "look and say" approach. Don't worry too much at this stage unless you feel that there is a problem. If you do think that your daughter is struggling ask the teacher what they feel your child's predominate learning style is (don't expect a snap answer - let them consider if you want accuracy) and ask if the reading schemes can be adapted to suit her.
Good luck

marina · 21/03/2008 22:42

edam, dd is able to do John Lewis Cola like that too

Both mine seem to work on the whole word recognition basis. They do phonics, and "get" them, but also have a facility to remember word shapes.

I was taught whole word recognition with Ladybird and flashcards. The first time ds brought home his blends to practice I nearly had a panic attack

cat64 · 21/03/2008 22:47

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imaginaryfriend · 21/03/2008 22:54

HI oops! so with your genius reader son, did he just kind of teach himself or did he respond to a particular scheme.

I don't know whether dd is a 'rote' learner. She really struggles with maths and can never even remember the answer to 2 plus 2 without using her fingers!

And I don't know if the ORT books are old or new. Tonight she read pretty perfectly 'The Magic Key' which is a level 5. I was really impressed that she knew words like 'thought' and 'adventure'. Yesterday we read a level 4 Songbirds book and she was so confused with the list of words with 'oh' sounds: ow, o-e, o, oa etc. She was so confused in fact that she 'forgot' how to read all the other every day words like 'the'!

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edam · 21/03/2008 22:57

Recognising the shape of words is what people who know how to read do. That's why it's so hard to read lots of text i in block caps - because there are no ascenders and descenders to give the words any shape.

oops · 21/03/2008 22:59

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edam · 21/03/2008 23:00

don't know where that extra 'i' came from!

ds loves making me read a book about all the different animals that existed in pre-history - not just the bog-standard dinosaurs but thousands of bloody things that were clearly evolutionary dead ends. There are LOTS of words I don't recognise or know how to pronounce. So I sound like him learning to read. He finds this hilarious!

oops · 21/03/2008 23:01

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imaginaryfriend · 21/03/2008 23:07

Yes, I think dd's definitely doing something like that, trying to recognise the shape of the word but it's only partly successful as she'll confuse something like 'moan' and 'moon' as they look so similar. She can tell me what all the phonic sounds are ai ee oy oi etc. but when it comes to recognising them inside words she's lost.

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tortoiseSHELL · 21/03/2008 23:08

only read OP - ds1 learnt very much by sight words, only used phonics for spelling. Dd was reading using phonics at playgroup, and now half way through reception uses about 50/50 sight/phonics

imaginaryfriend · 21/03/2008 23:13

If they don't go for phonics how do they learn the words that have oa, ai, etc. sounds? Purely by sight? Did we learn by phonics when we were kids or is this entirely new?

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oops · 21/03/2008 23:15

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edam · 21/03/2008 23:17

I don't know, imaginary, vague memories of learning c-a-t and sticking words in a book to make sentences. And 'See Peter. See Jane' ad nauseum.

imaginaryfriend · 21/03/2008 23:21

Yes, I remember that edam and Peter and Jane. But it's a mystery to me how they manage to get the really confusing range of English spellings!

oops, I don't know where to start with dd really. She's got no idea about multiplication so far and can do basic adding on her fingers. Anything that adds up to over 10 being a problem although she can count to 100 and in 10's, 5's and up to 10 in 2's.

She's a bright, imaginative child but she's not particularly 'anoraky' about learning IYKWIM? She doesn't show massive enthusiasm for any of it. But when I was reading her the original Pinocchio story tonight she was in complete heaven! She's also very artistic and is forever drawing complicated scenarios with mermaids and rabbits.

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oops · 21/03/2008 23:26

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Christywhisty · 21/03/2008 23:38

My 2 learnt to read completely differently.

DS struggled, couldn't do any word recognition, hated the words he had to bring home. Clicked properly when he was 7. He is 12 now but is most likely dyslexic and has problems with spelling and writing.

DD just seemed to absorb reading and was so compeltely different to her brother. She astonished the inlaws by reading word like architecture when she was 5. Reading just came very easily to her.
They are both very bright children, but they developed so differently from babies.

DS would not be able to do something one day and then was an expert at it the next day.

DD did everything gradually and you could see her learning stage by stage.

singersgirl · 22/03/2008 10:30

DS1 recognised some words from 2 and learned by whole words in Reception. This meant that at 5 he could read 'emergency utility vehicle', as he recognised the shape of th words, but he struggled with, eg, 'fetch'. Curiously, though, it hasn't helped with spelling - he sees a general shape of a word, I think, and can therefore often tranpose letters. He is 9 now and a very good reader/pretty good speller.

DS2, now 6, was taught phonics by me at 3, but might have been able to read a few words before (for example, when I was looking at an article headlined 'Town vs. country' with a picture of some skyscrapers, he said "Is that a picture of a town?"). He is an excellent reader and unusually good speller. He is like me (and like Bink and here daughter) in that we just 'know' how words are spelt and 'see' when they are wrong.

The OP's daughter sounds as if she is doing really well. Some good readers do just intuit rules, though I think the phonics teaching has helped DS2 with his word attack skills for new words.

wheresthehamster · 22/03/2008 12:26

IF - if your school is learning phonics the way we are then it is quite possible that your dd hasn't reached the phase where they learn ai, ow, er etc (I think it's phase 4).

So - don't worry! She sounds like she's doing fine!

wheresthehamster · 22/03/2008 12:30

Ignore that - I didn't read your post where you said she knew them already. You can help by underlining each sound as she's reading. E.g. m -oa-n not m-o-a-n. It will click - I promise!

cat64 · 22/03/2008 14:10

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